Sunday, April 27, 2008
But the story is not over, after I was finished I was able to talk with the speaker. I found out that he taught at Patrick Henry College! So we talked a bit about homeschoolers, and he said he was very impressed with them. So I come all the way to Sweden and I am being taught by a Purdue alum in my history class and I am able to listen to a Patrick Henry professor teach at a church service.
During April I made two trips on consecutive weekends. One to Oslo to see relatives and another to Copenhagen with a couple friends from Singapore. Both were fun trips, although the week between them was short. I learned a lot about Singapore on my trip to Copenhagen talking with my two friends. Very much a group oriented society.
The weather has become increasingly warm, now I can keep my window open and go around in a short sleeved shirt. This past week I have had to focus more on studying to catch up and make up for time I won't have. I took a hike down to the lake on Saturday with a friend. The lake was really nice as well.
So that is a short and sweet recap of April. A lot more happened as well, but the business and routine of life is starting to set in.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
On the plane I was considering my 11 hour layover in the airport that was in Beauvis, an hour away from Paris. I knew the airport would be small, and I knew they would have busses to Paris, so I decided to go to Paris, even though I had not thought about it previously.
So I wandered around Paris for a five days and saw the arch de triumph and the Eiffel Tower. That evening I boarded the plane to Madrid and arrived very late, at around 10:00 or so. The hostel I ended up staying in was decent, though hard to find.
I stayed in Madrid for five days. It was very interesting. I had a hard time adjusting to the differences in eating times. I had to eat at McDonalds for two dinners, for which I was roundly chastised by Jennifer. I saw a lot of fascinating places, the royal palace, which had absolutely the most sumptious rooms of any place I have ever seen. It was incredible. I took a day trip to El Escorial, and saw the Valley of the Fallen where Franco had erected a giant cross to himself. I also saw the El Prado museum and the Reina Sofia.
As far as culture I was impressed by the liveliness of Spanish society it definitely had a different feel from Sweden.
I was able to visit the two friends from Purdue and see where they studied. I was surprised by how much grafitti there was, even on the university buildings. But my friends seemed to be enjoying themselves and the experience.
So then it was back to Uppsala, very early Thursday morning.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Anyway another interesting day, but I'd better get to bed as I have a lot of studying to do tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Today represented what I enjoy about this experience, I am meeting people and making friends with people from across the world. I get to talk about interesting subjects with them. And overall, it is just really fascinating, and I am so thankful to be here. I have such good memories of a lot of things. Well off to bed, and another busy day.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Anyway, I said today was my birthday, I haven't done anything special, yet, but in about 30 minutes the Bible study will meet and we will see what they have planned. There is another member who also has her birthday today, so we will have a combined celebration. We are going to sing a couple psalms. I picked out 119B, and the other person will also pick out some psalms. Besides that I am not sure what else is going on.
Since my last post I have attended a birthday party for a friend from Hong Kong, attended a reccedinner at Gothenburgs nation, attended praise and worship night, and another party where I was able to do a little swing dancing. I also went to a couple concerts in the domkyrkan, the cathedral here. It was very cool to hear the church music from Monteverdi and others in the tall building. Both concerts were free and were very well done. Uppsala has a very good classical music scene with concerts and things just about every week.
I am realizing that it is okay to just live in a town, I don't need to travel somewhere every week, because I don't usually do that back at Purdue. I certainly haven't done that, having only gone outside of Uppsala and Stockholm twice, but sometimes I wished I traveled more. But now I realize that moderate traveling is good because then I can actually experience life in Uppsala. Well, those are some things that I have been doing, well, I should probably get ready to go to Bible Study now. Thank-you to everyone for the birthday wishes.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
This past week has been farely normal with me starting a new class on the Vikings, and going to the International Bible Study, playing basketball, and doing a debate club. Tonight I had my second gasque, and international gasque. It was like the reccegasque except for international students. They had some good entertainment like a men's choir and a group of musicians that played swedish folk music on violins. The international students really didn't know the songs and the toasting was not really to protocol, but it was still good. I didn't stay too long afterwards for the after party as there were a lot of Swedish students who were coming to the pub as well and so it was very crowded and loud, and so I decided to walk home. I have concluded the Swedes are just as likely to get drunk as Americans or Australians, and when they get drunk they are no longer reserved or quiet. Not all Swedes are like that, just as not all Americans or Australians want to get drunk, but it seems like a majority don't mind.
Well that is all for now, like i said I hope to post more frequently in the near future.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
This week I started my Basic Swedish course. The teacher is great, and the class should be helpful but not too much work. We started with asking a variety of questions like where are you from and what are you studying etc. I think it will be a big help for me. I am not sure whether or not I will be able to gain fluency in Swedish, but I will definitely get better.
Well those were a couple of the main events of this week, I am working hard to get a paper done early because we will be returning after the deadline has past. I have a gasque for freshman on Saturday hosted by the Goteborg nation, so that will be interesting to see.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
There was also an old church right next to the burial mound area. It actually had been one of the main churches in Uppsala, built around the 12th century or so. But a fire destroyed much of the church. However the part that remains is preserved remarkably well and appeared to be only slightly changed from the 12th century. It was very interesting to go in. Below is a picture of the church
Last Wednesday there was a welcoming reception for the exchange students in the University Main building, which is a very nice building. We were able to go inside a big auditorium that was nicely decorated, and then we went to a reception room where there was a lot of paintings and things and we listened to a welcoming speech given by the Vice Chancellor. The reception was okay, but the most exciting part was what happened afterwards.
As I was going out of the building, I met the English guy who was with some students from Singapore. I started walking with them, and found out they were going to eat at this place called Pinnochio's Pizza. I also heard them talking about a trip they were going to take to Lapland and a place called Abisko mountain station. They were going to Pinnochio's Pizza to discuss what they were going to do for the trip. So I decided to go, and so within half an hour I had signed up for a trip to Lapland from February 21-25. It was quite interesting the way things worked out, but that is what I enjoy so much about being an international student. I have an immediate connection with every other international student. So the Lapland trip will be my next big adventure, and I am hoping to visit the Ice Hotel, go dogsledding, and do a variety of other things. It will be somewhat expensive, but I think that it will be worth it.
Well, now on to my trip to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. It is a small town of approximately 400,000 people. But the old town had a nice medieval feel to it. So on Friday I and three other students took a train to Stockholm where we went on the ferry. There were a lot of other exchange students on the ferry as well. The ferry was a cruise ferry, so it had a pub, and a casino/stage, and a disco, and a restaurant where they charged ridiculous prices for food, and finally, a tax free store. In face a lot of people take this ferry because they are able to buy beer for significantly cheaper prices than in Sweden. Some people were a bit drunk, but it wasn't too bad. Fortunately my roommates were quiet.
The picture above shows the ferry I was on. The town was very nice. I wandered around with five other exchange students. The old town had a nice medieval feel to it. There were a variety of interesting shops and museums. Part of the old wall had been preserved. All the streets were cobblestone, some were narrow, so it was nice to walk around some.
The prices were also cheap for the most part, the estonian currency was 10 to 1 against the American dollar, which made conversion nice and simple. We also went to the city museum and learned some about 20th century Estonian history and how hard it was for the people being occupied by the Germans and then the Soviets from a guy who was born in 1932. It was very interesting to hear him describe the events, the deportations and the propaganda. I was moved by the courage of the people of this small country. On the ferry ride back we ran into some rough waves and rough weather. Some people got seasick, but I actually enjoyed the storm as it reminded me of God's power (and of course being from Indiana, I never really experience storms on seas). The ship was rocking back and forth noticably, I went out on deck several times and enjoyed watching the sea and the waves. All in all it was exciting. Below is a video I took while I was standing on the exterior deck.
This week has seemed to just fly by with a variety of events. Sunday I watched the Super Bowl at this bar in Uppsala that stayed open. The game started at 12:45 in Sweden. It gave new meaning for me to hear the sports announcers say that they were broadcasting the game around the world. It was a very exciting game to watch, it didn't seem like there were many Americans, mostly people from around the world, but they were into the game. I left at the end of the third quarter because I had come back from Estonia that day and was tired and I knew I had class the next day at 9:00, perhaps I should have stayed, but oh well. I left around 2:45 in the morning. But I was definitely very happy when I turned on my computer the next morning and found out the Giants won. It was the next best thing to the Colts winning the Super Bowl.
On Monday I had class and learned about Gustav Vassa who formed the Swedish state, and about the period from 1520-1710 when Sweden went to war with just about everybody (the only time they went to war with just about everybody). I also stopped by an exhibition in the Carolina Redviva library where they have a lot of old books, the highlight of which is the Silver Bible, from the 6th century or so. Most of these manuscripts were stolen from German castles in the 17th century, when Sweden was a great military power. Next week I have to come up with a paper topic for a comparison between Sweden and the U.S. Monday night was the International Bible Study where we studied 2 Corinthians. Tuesday was another busy day as I had a session on how to use the Uppsala Library catalogue, then I sang in the gospel choir for an hour, then went to Goteborg nation to make Semla as Tuesday is known as Fat Tuesday or Semla day, (they were very good). Finally I went to the Norrlands nation Sports Club and played basketball. I have officially joined the Sports Club to play basketball and they meet every Tuesday night from 10-11. Today I met a guy for lunch, studied some LSAT prep, and went to a dinner sponsored by this organisation called CAMBIUS. The dinner was great, and I sang the Star Spangled Banner for everyone there, as the people from the different countries were singing their national anthems. I forgot some of the words, I can't believe I did that, but I didn't pause, so I don't think anyone noticed. So that is a bit of my life, keeping very busy and constantly meeting new people, which I am enjoying very much. Well, time for bed, and then a new day.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
On Wednesday I had my first class, Swedish history, and it is going to be pretty easy, just read 1 600 page book and write an 8 page paper in 4 weeks. So I have a lot of free time, hopefully I will be able to use some of that in studying my LSAT prep book and traveling. There is a group of four other people and I who will be going to Stockholm on Monday. I am looking forward to that, and I hope that it will be the start of more travels. There is so much to see, and so little time to see it.
Even though my corridor is a bit quiet, at least they don't blare music like a couple of the other corridors in my building. Last night at about 2:20 in the morning, the guy in the room below me was blaring his stereo really loud, (of course it had the exact same electric guitar line). I was able to get to sleep because I had earplugs, but I was thinking how frustrated I would be if I actually lived in that corridor. So after that experience, I was thankful that I am in a more peaceful corridor, even if most people hide in their rooms. Well, that is all, today is Australia Day, so all the Australians are having a big party (I think they could get a degree in partying), so I might go check it out, or I might not.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
The other big thing I did today was to go to a reception where I learned more about the thirteen student nations at Uppsala. The student nations have a deep history at Uppsala University, most of them are at least 300 years old. They represent a geographical region of Sweden and range in size from 600 members to 7000 members. Each nation has a pub, a cafe in a building and provides activities from sports to choirs. There are some things that members of one nation can do with a member of another nation, but it is important to choose a nation that fits one's style. I have to sign up at a particular nation tomorrow. I think I have one in mind. We'll see how things go. So I am becoming more encouraged as I stay for a longer time. My room and building are starting to feel a little like home. Well I probably should go to bed, and get up for a busy day tomorrow.